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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 30, 2014 3:00am-5:01am EST

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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i rise in support of this farm bill and also to thank chairman lucas and congressman peterson for your leadership for agriculture. as many of my house colleagues have already said this morning, this legislation is long overdue. this bill is truly worthy of its name. the federal agriculture reform and risk management act because of the historic reforms it ledge slates. overall the bills repeals or consolidates about 100 programs. along with sequestration reduction that cuts mandatory spending by nearly $23 billion. and the conservation title alone reduces it from $23 billion to $13 billion. this bill saves $6 billion and does so without affecting the programs. we reform food stamps and we do so through thoughtful changes making sure that truly needs the assistance gets it.
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farmers providing milk for this nation, we help them. with the 2008 farm bill expiring nearly a year and a half ago, i urge my colleagues to vote for this legislation and finally give our farmers and rural constituents the support they deserve, ensuring all americans -- mr. lucas: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. chairman. i won't take that much. overall this farm bill ensures all americans have access to affordable, high-quality and safe food and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. speaker, i'm now pleased to yield one minute to the gentlelady from washington, ms. delbene. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from washington is recognized for one minute. ms. delbene: thank you, mr. speaker. this farm bill is bipartisan legislation that's good for our farmers and families. it's an accomplishment in a will create jobs, help our farmers and preserve access to healthy food. this bill includes unprecedented funding for
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specialty crops and organic farms. it's no understatement to say that this is the best farm bill yet for specialty crop farmers. i'm proud the farm bill includes $200 million to fund my proposal to expand job training programs for snap recipients to find self-sustaining jobs. make no mistake, no one got everything they wanted. i'm disappointed that nutrition assistance is reduced at a time it's needed high, however it will not reduce snap eligibility for those in need. in addition, the reduction of the dairy stabilization is disappointing. this bill is an improvement but falls short of solving the entire problem. overall, this bill provides the certainty needed to grow our economy and bolster america's agriculture industry. i strongly urge a yes vote and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from minnesota reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i yield an additional two minutes
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to the gentlewoman from connecticut, ms. delauro. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from connecticut is recognized for two additional minutes. ms. delauro: i thank the gentleman and just wanted to reiterate one thing. me may view that represent the state of connecticut, third congressional district of connecticut and in fact what do we know about farming. the fact is that we do. we have dairy farmers, people with specialty crops, and included in my history in this great body, i served as chair of the agriculture subcommittee of appropriations. also served as the ranking member and as i mentioned earlier, i had the opportunity to be part of the conference committee on the farm bill in 2008 and helped to negotiate the nutrition title. i might make one or two more points. congressional budget office, this farm bill says it's going
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to save $23 billion. they count savings frofere a year ago. they talk about $16.6 billion. congressional budget office says even as we cut that $8.6 billion from the food stamp program, taking meals away from 1.7 million of the most vulnerable in our society, we are increasing spending on crop insurance by $5.7 billion in the farm bill. in case folks do not know, the fact of the matter is that americans subsidize crop insurance. we pick up over 60% of the cost of the premiums on crop insurance. we pay 100% of the administrative costs in terms of crop insurance. we have 13 or 26 individuals who get at least $1 million in the crop insurance subsidy and we can't find out who they are, and while the food cut -- the cut in food stamp benefits are going to be felt immediately across those 850,000
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households, primarily made up of children, the elderly, disabled and veterans, few, if any of the congressional budget office projected commodity program savings may ever be realized if crop prices continue to fall. this is reflected in that c.b.o. score that the deficit would be increased this year with this bill. . only food stamps would be cut this year. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. ms. delauro: we should vote against this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. lucas: thank you, mr. speaker. it is with the greatest of pleasure i turn now to the gentleman from michigan, mr. benishek, who is so focused on these issues. i yield him 1 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. benishek: i'd like to thank the ranking member as well. these guys have put a lot of work into this bill over the years. i rise today in support of the agriculture act of 2014.
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this measure is important for farms and hardworking families in northern michigan. northern michigan is home to a number of centennial family farms. meaning they have been in the family for over 100 years. farms like the barredonhagens where they grow asparagus, apples and potatoes. a short drive down the road is another farm. they grow corn, wheat, soybeans, and raise beef calt for their neighbors. these -- cattle for their neighbors. these family operations are a vitalal and growing part of northern michigan's economy and it's been an honor to get to know them. they work hard to produce quality products that feed northern michigan and families around the world. this bill represents the hard work and input of stakeholders from northern michigan and across the country. while not perfect, it reflects the needs of our rural
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agriculture economy that is vital to michigan's first congressional district. i urge my colleagues to support the passage of this bill and yield the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i'm now pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. scott. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minute. mr. scott: thank you very much, chairman. ranking member. agriculture, ladies and gentlemen, is the heart and soul of our nation. it provides the food we eat. it provides the clothes we wear. it provides the material to build our homes and our shelters. no committee is engaged in the entire crook and nannies of the fabric of this nation as the agriculture committee. this farm bill is the product of what makes america great. what makes america great is our
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democratic republic. the anchor of which is compromise. i want to commend mr. peterson, our ranking member, for his job, mr. lucas, the chairman of our committee for his job. it's been five years that we have been on this. and i particularly want to thank mr. peterson and it was a pleasure working with mr. peterson on an issue very dear to him which is dairy, as we worked out the fabric of that. i commend our leadership on our committee. oufer, there is yet work to be done. mess delauro from connecticut was right. mr. mcgovern was ry. -- ms. delauro from connecticut was right. mr. mcgovern was right. ladies and gentlemen of the committee in this house and this nation, we have a serious problem with hunger in this country. and it's not going away until we realize the graphity -- gravity
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of it. our veterans, our seniors, the most vulnerable. we must address this issue. my position on this bill is that i will vote for it. we have worked on it. is it a perfect bill? no, it is not. are we a perfect nation? no, we are not. but we are constantly striving, striving for that. and we will get closer to this perfect position as we bring all americans involved and let no american go hungry in this country. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. scott: i urge everyone to please vote for the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from minnesota reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i'm thrited to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. crowley. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. crowley: i thank my friend
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and colleague from massachusetts for yielding me this time. this legislation is commonly referred to as the farm bill, but it's also a food bill. on that note it falls short. to be clear this is miles ahead of where we started with what i consider a truly heartless republican proposal, and i know that our conferees worked hard to make improvements to this bill, in particular i want to thank collin peterson and the members of the democratic side of the aisle who worked -- who are dedicated to work to improve this bill. but it still leaves too many families behind. the snap cut in this bill may seem on paper -- small on paper, but it's not to the families that it will affect. it's not to the food banks that are already stretched well beyond their means. in new york city, 280,000 households are expected to see their benefits drop under this bill.
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the benefits that don't go anywhere near far enough to begin with. we see every day in new york city how deep the need for food assistance is. how food banks and community hunger organizations are doing everything they can to provide food to hungry families. and they are joined by citizen heroes like jorge who i was honored to host last night as my guest to the state of the union. jorge has been called an angel in queens for his work in feeding the hungry. he saw a need on the streets of queens and he jumped in to fill it. serving home cooked meals out of his truck to what started as a small group of homeless and unemployed new yorkers. as word grew of his generosity, so did the crowds eager just for something to get through that night. since 2004, jorge has served over 225,000 meals on the streets of queens new york.
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he and i know there are more people out there who are hungry or cold or need of every bit of assistance that they get. could i have an additional minute? mr. mcgovern: i yield 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. crowley: we should be doing more not less. it's really trouble there are some on the other side of the aisle who think this doesn't cut food assistance enough. imagine that, there is $8 billion, $8 billion worth of cuts in this bill and still that's far less than i wanted to cut. the fact that in some ways this bill can be considered a compromise option just shows how unreasonable the cuts proposed by the other side were. what did we come to when we argue about how much of a cut to hungry children and family is reasonable? yes, this bill is not as bad as it could be, but it's not as good as it should be. that's why i'll be voting no against this bill today. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. lucas: mr. speaker, i would like to yield to the gentleman from oklahoma who has some of the most productive agricultural land and some of the most amazing farmers an ranchers, the gentleman, mr. cole, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized tore two minutes. mr. cole: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, it's a great personal privilege and pleasure for me to come down here on behalf of 14,000 farmers and ranchers in my district and 75,000 farmers and ranchers in the state of oklahoma. goodness knows how many tens of thousands of people beyond that in various phases of agriculture and ag industry. and thank my good friend, chairman lucas, for what he's accomplished. i think it's easy to be the critic, but i think all of us on this house floor know how long and how arduous this struggle has been to bring all the competing interests together, to bring both sides of the aisle together. to bring both chambers together,
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and to bring the administration together in support of this legislation. it's easy to see why the support, if you actually step back and take a look at what it does. first it does save $23 billion. and frankly those cuts largely don't come out of the safety net programs where actually there's simply -- relatively modest but important reforms, they actually come out of the production end of this business. changes need to be made there, but we ought to recognize those are tough changes in and of themselves. second, it preserves the capability of this country to continue to produce more food and fiber than anybody else in the world, not just for our people, but for all over the world, and deliver that at a cheaper price than anybody else in the world. it's worth reflecting that americans pay a lower percentage of their income for food than any other country in the world. guess what? with the additional income, they are able to do other things, invest in other things, and go
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on. finally, particularly pleased that the safety net has been preserved. important programs are in place. we ought to recognize that. it wouldn't have been possible without my friend, chairman lucas. all he's done to bring us together, how hard he's worked. this bill, frankly, deserves the support of every democrat, every republican on this floor. i urge my colleagues to be supportive when the time to vote comes. with that i yield back the balance of my time. . mr. lucas: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers. i believe i have the right to close and i'll reserve my time unless we're ready to close or when we're ready to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts will be recognized first to close.
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mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close if there are no other speakers. my understanding is that mr. other n may have one speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. speaker, we have one member that wanted to speak and we're trying to ascertain his whereabouts at his point. the speaker pro tempore: let me give an update on times remaining. the gentleman from oklahoma has 5 1/4 minutes remaining. the gentleman from minnesota has 3 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from massachusetts has two minutes remaining. the gentleman from minnesota is ecognized. mr. peterson: mr. speaker, i know that members want to get
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out of here and get on planes and so forth so we'll yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time? mr. peterson: well, mr. speaker -- go ahead. you going to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for two minutes to close. mr. mcgovern: mau, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, first of all let me say that -- thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, first of all let me say that i'm grateful to mr. peterson and chairman lucas. i appreciate their dedication on these issues. it's good to be on the agriculture committee and proud to serve with them as well as with other members on each side of the aisle. unfortunately, i cannot support this bill. mr. speaker, let me speak to my fellow democrats. last night we sat in this chamber and we listened to the president give his state of the union address. and when he talked about raising the minimum wage, we all stood up and cheered. when he talked about the need to address income inequality, we all applauded, but cheers
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and applause are not enough. and i ask my colleagues to think back, to remember listening to their parents and grandparents talk about how franklin roosevelt always stood up for the little guy. remember those pictures of bobby kennedy touring through appalachian and touching the cheeks of hungry children. that's why we became democrats in the first place. those are the people that got us into politics. those are our people. don't throw that away just to be able to say you voted for a farm bill. don't turn your backs on our heritage and our history by giving bipartisan cover to what i believe is a flawed bill. we don't have to do this. the price of admission to pass a farm bill should not be more cuts to snap. and make no mistake about it. my friends on the republican side are not through when it comes to snap. they're going to come back after this program again and again and again. we need to push back. we need to say enough. you know, some -- you know, some have rationalized these
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cuts. some have tried to explain them away as being nothing but closing a loophole. they are wrong. people are going to be hurt. people all over this country, 1.7 million people are going to be impacted by this. there should be nobody in this country, the richest country in the history of the world, who should ever go hungry. that should be a nonparticipate issue. but to -- nonpartisan issue. but to my democrat colleagues, this is something we've championed over and over again during the existence of this country. so i urge my colleagues to vote no on this conference report. vote your conscience, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. speaker, mr. airman, i'll close, i guess, as well. i again want to thank the chairman and all of the members on both sides of the aisle for their work and hanging in there all these months and years to
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get to this point and congratulate the chairman on what i expect to be a successful outcome in a little bit of time here and with that i'd ask everybody to support this conference report and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. lucas: mr. speaker, i yield myself -- the speaker pro tempore: 5 1/4 minutes. the gentleman is recognized. mr. lucas: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to join my colleague by adding to the congressional record a majority of the -- a list of the majority staff members. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. lucas: i say with the cooperation of the members of the committee itself, the cooperation among of house and senate members was exemplary. i'd also note that the work of our staff, those good men and omen, house and senate, over the course of these years cannot be underestimated or
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underappreciated. e hours, the spirit of comity, the focus on accomplishing, trying to do good policy, it cannot be understated how important those ood folks have been. mr. speaker, let me close by saying this. no one cares more about agriculture policy, farmers and ranchers, consumers and everyone in the process that takes it from the seed to the plate or the bowl than i do. but i think in good faith i can say my colleague, mr. peterson, cares just as much as i do. members of our committee care just as much as we do. this bill, done in what i would like to define as regular order, through the committee process and the floor and the
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conference, may not have exactly everything my friends on the right would want or my friends on the left would want, but it represents making the process work, achieving consensus, putting into place policies that are better than what were there before to drive this effort forward. i know that we sincerely disagree on many things, and i know some of my friends don't sometimes act like they care about what happens out on the farm or the ranch. i know that's not the case. they do care, but i would simply say this. no matter how much money we spend on supplemental programs to make sure our fellow citizens have enough to eat -- and that's important -- never forget, if there's not a product on the shelf, if there's not meat in the case, if there's not vegetables or
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fruit available, it doesn't matter how much you subsidize. the food has to be there. and that's why i've said all along, a farm bill still has to have farm in it. this agricultural act of 2014 lives up to that. it makes a commitment to our fellow citizens who are in tough times. but it will also assure that the food will be there. don't take us down the path that many other countries have gone through in the last century of people lined up at empty shelves, people hording particular ag products because it's available that day because they'll trade it the next day when something might be available. let's continue to do this miracle called american agriculture. and oh, by the way, depending on how you define miracles in
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the environment we work together in, this farm bill might not be quite recognizes t
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gentlewoman from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen,
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... let me just jump in and suggest
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that the president made it very clear what he thinks we should
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be doing. made very concrete proposals. lots of things that the republicans should be able to embrace and work with us on. we need to make sure, for example, that when you are working, you should not have to do a tremendous amount of hand wringing about how you're going to be able to sustain yourself in retirement. so ensuring that we have an automatic enrollment process in an i.r.a., when you get it, start a job, that has been proposed in the president's budget every single year since he's been president and unfortunately the republicans have not been willing to take that up. last night he proposed in the absence of congressional action a myra program so we can have a treasury bond that people can invest in, low-wage workers can invest in, so they can eventually transition that to an i.r.a. that is not a concept, i mean, i hope that's a concept -- let me speak optimistically, that the republicans can embrace. we should at a minimum make sure


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